Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring Child Carrier Sale

Kids are in the air...with child carriers that is. With the official arrival of spring, what better gift could you give your children or grandchildren than a free ride and some fresh air. So don't be afraid to take advantage of our Spring Child Carrier Sale. Get that baby backpack and get outside and put some miles under your belt. Truly there is no better way to get in shape for hiking, backpacking, or mountaineering than carrying a few extra pounds on your back. I used to load my 25 odd pound 2 year old in a child carrier and climb hills to get in shape for a trip up Mt. Rainier years ago. I made it--barely--but couldn't have done it without my daughter riding on my shoulders.

That was in 2002 and we were partial to Madden Mountaineering's Child Carriers for the security and steadiness of carry even while scrambling up local summits. (We had two of them.) Madden was bought by Sherpani who continues to use the same design and quality in its framed Rumba Baby Carriers. You'll be hard pressed to find a lighter lightweight backpack than Sherpani's Rumba Superlight. And this year Sherpani features some great new colors too.

We also added Kelty FC child carriers to our selection this year. Besides the fact that they are one of the best-selling kid carrier companies; they offer some sharp styling with unique eye catching colors.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Cobalt V Watch is Making a Splash

Tested to 100m, the Momentum Cobalt V Watch is ideal for water lovers. You may have seen Momentum's full page ad in the 2011 Backpacker Magazine Gear Guide announcing the latest addition to their line of quality dive watches. Although it lacks the traditional diver's bezel, the large face with big bold luminous numbers is perfect for underwater adventure...even in the dark.

Made with black titanium, the Cobalt V's 44 mm case is surprising light...and comfortable. Although it has a 5 year battery, the V in Cobalt V actually refers to Momentum's new "V series" movement. It looks great with a black ribbed rubber band (standard) or an upgrade to a black touch leather band. Looking for a great dive watch for women? Check out Momentum's M1 Dive watch, which appeared again this spring in the Title IX Sports catalog.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Green Mountain Byway & Fed Ex Deliveries

So I just got back from making a Fed Ex Delivery and discovered our store is now officially on the Green Mountain Byway! I was a little stunned first because I had to load up today's orders and take them to Fed Ex for the first time...but also because we've now got Green Mountain Byway signs on our road to tell folks that our beautiful strip of the country is officially...well, "scenic". Oops, I guess we're not the official Green Mountain Scenic Byway as that's in Florida. Pardon, my geography but the last time I drove through Florida it was pretty flat.

Which gets to the story of why I was going to Fed Ex. We rely on Fed Ex and while we try to emphasize that anything could happen and there are no guarantees in the delivery business--unless you are willing to pay an arm and a leg for one--sometimes the unexpected happens. As the snow melts here in Vermont the roads get muddy and our local drivers make a lot of deliveries on dirt roads that at this time of year can swallow up truck axles and such. So our daily Fed Ex pick up didn't happen today because the Fed Ex truck died. As a result I drove off to get today's packages onto the truck before it was towed back to the terminal. The funniest part of the adventure was that I passed a UPS truck being towed home too! There are probably a couple of morals to this story...tomorrow I'm going to schedule my car for an overdue check-up.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Best in Classic Hiking

Congratulations to the Green Mountain Club membership and Director Ben Rose for reaching their goal of 10,000 members by the end of their 100th Anniversary Year last Friday. America's oldest long distance hiking trail--the Long Trail--is in good hands for another 100 years.

Another development in the "classic" hiking category is Vasque's new Bitterroot GTX Backpacking Boots. Backpacker Magazine editor's gave the Bitterroot GTX their "Classic Leather" backpacking boot nod in the just published 2011 Backpacker Gear Guide. Favored for its "durability, support, and classic styling, the Bitterroot is the choice. Best for wide, high volume feet. $190: 3 lbs. 8 oz". The Bitterroot is available for men in narrow, regular, and wide and in two colors: Slate/Chili and Gunpowder/Estate Blue. Thickly padded ankles, a full grain leather upper, and a full sheet of EVA for cushion will protect your feet and withstand years of abuse. And yes, you guessed it; our first shipment of Vasque Bitterroots arrived just last week.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Ultralight Trekking Poles

With all the rain spoiling the 2 feet of snow we recieved this week, this seems an a propos time to tout the merits of trekking poles. Especially in the deep, mushy snow we've got now a strong pair of lightweight poles can make all the difference between a twisted ankle or a wet faceplant. In a nut shell, having four points of contact with the ground provides better balance than two.

Maybe I just have poles on the brain because we've been stocking up on new ones in the past few weeks. Yesterday we opened our new Black Diamond Ultra Distance Z-Poles for Trekking; these were one of only 14 picks for best gear of the year in Backpacker Magazine's 2011 Gear Guide! Here's what the testers said: "Get a grip on the best carbon poles we've ever tested." Using the same concept as the elastic shock cords in tent poles, these 3 section poles feature a coated inner cord with a push button release.

I'm curious about which poles I'll decide to bring on tomorrow's snowshoe to the top of Camel's Hump, but I'm pretty sure I won't be lucky enough to break out Black Diamond's new Z poles.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

GMC's Project 10,000 needs you!

The Green Mountain Club needs your help! With less than 48 hours to go, Project 10,000 is down to the wire. The GMC needs about 50 more new members to hit the goal of 10,000 dues paying members in their 100th Anniversary year. The Green Mountain Club manages the oldest, long distance hiking trail in the United States--the Long Trail--which was the inspiration for the Appalachian Trail which share the Long Trail's southern section. The Long Trail runs 273 miles spanning the length of Vermont from the Berkshires of Massachusetts to the Canadian border. While many club members are locals who love the Long Trail--many others live out-of-state and visited Vermont to hike all or sections of the Long Trail. All joined the club to help preserve a place that is special to them.

Whether you've hiked the trail or not, your support can help in many ways from helping to maintain established trails to building and protecting new sections of trail through easements and land purchases. If you're looking for a great place to get away to this summer learn more about Vermont's Long Trail. And if you need lightweight gear and backpacking supplies rest assured, we're located only 2 miles north of the Club's Visitor Center

Monday, March 7, 2011

Busy Backpack Buyer.

2011 begins with lots of backpacks on our blog. In addition to beefing up our GoLite, Gregory, and Osprey offerings, we've been buying new backpack brands at breakneck speed. Sierra Designs backpack revival offers a lot of new excitement; after a 25 year hiatus Sierra Designs is returning to its roots with an innovative series of new packs that include pivoting hipbelts and great organization.

French mountaineering backpack giant Millet is adding it's pedigree to our backpack wall this spring too. With tremendous big mountain tradition, Millet backpacks are a favorite of serious trekkers and mountaineers around the world.

And for family backpackers we've added the Kelty line of backpacks for it's great value. From child carriers, to youth packs, and week-long hiking backpacks Kelty packs in many high end features at affordable prices.

In fact our buyer is so busy, that our busy programmers haven't had a chance to get all of the packs in our store up on our website (including an entire brand of packs not mentioned here yet since you wouldn't even find it on our site.) If there's a pack you're looking that you don't see on our site yet, give us a call at 855-244-GEAR as we've got lots of packs in stock still looking for a home on our website.

Friday, March 4, 2011

2011 Backpacker Editor's Choice Gear

Our 2011 Backpacker Magazine Gear Guide Page is now live, just 48 hours after the magazine hit our mailbox. While it has yet to arrive in some parts of the country, here at we've been busy unpacking boxes and stocking up on lots of the year's best gear. From Vermont, we're excited to share info from Backpacker's impartial gear testers.

So we're working hard to cull through our inventory and match it up with awards and reviews from the Gear Guide, so you'll have the best information available about the best gear. From Killer Values to Best All Around and the prestigious Editor's Choice check out our new Gear Guide page as we strive our best to fulfill our mission to find and bring you the best gear. It's far from perfect at this point...and there are many products we have on order that are just arriving in our store but haven't got their own webpage yet. So stay tuned as we'll continue to bring up updates here.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Gregory's Baltoro backpack amazes again!

The Gregory Baltoro 65. Who could have guessed that Gregory's Editor's Choice updated pack--that was a Backpacker Editor's Choice winner in 2008 and was added to their all-time greats list in 2010--would be chosen to grace the 2011 Gear Guide cover!? Would not have been my choice with all the other great new packs out there, but Gregory packs certainly give testers many reasons to rave. What does the Baltoro 65 deliver that gave it full, front page placement in it brilliant Cinder Cone redness?

Durability. The original Baltoro 70 backpack passed durability tests in Utah's demanding slot canyons. The updated Baltoro looked "out-of-the-box new" after 120 miles on the AT in Virginia.
Stability. The Baltoro proved up to the test on Rockie Mountain ski tours. New is silicon on the lumbar pad to make it "stick like glue".
Ergonomics. The Baltoro is "made for big load comfort". It provides a "snug fit and direct load transfer."

At 5 lbs. 10 oz, you should consider looking at a GoLite backpack. But if you want a great all-around comfortable pack that's going to last for a lifetime, go with a Baltoro. Note the Baltoro is now also available in a 75 liter size.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Nemo's Astro Air Sleeping Pad: Another Trail Essential

Nemo's Astro Air Sleeping Pad is just what the doctor ordered! Whether you just thrive on comfort...or your back aches like mine because of age, this backpacking minded camping pad is a treat. The new Nemo Astro Insulated Pad is the lightweight and ultra packable sleeping pad based on the super-comfy pad design of the Nemo Cosmo Air Pad.

With the Astro Air, Nemo trimmed up the overall width and length of their Cosmo (the Astro regular version is 72" long and 20" wide, and the short version is 48" long and 20" wide). And Nemo took the integrated foot pump out to save weight; the "disco" pump is very cool and is will be available as an add on in a few weeks. The orange version of the Astro is insulated, using a synthetic polyurethane foam to stop convective currents. Weights are 1 lb 8 oz for Insulated, 1 lb 4 oz for Air, 14 oz for Short. Bet you can't weight to upgrade you heavy, old pad this spring!

Our new Astro sleeping pads hit the store last week (and the pillowtops should arrive next week)but supplies will be we may not get to try one out ourselves for awhile. But we do know that the Cosmo Air & Pillowtop on which it is based is almost as good as bringing along a Serta mattress!